2018 SEO Guide

How Do Search Engines Work?

Google, Yahoo and others use several activities to deliver the results you see on your desktop:

- They use `spiders` or `crawlers` also referred in Google terms as a `Googlebot` which are software to fetch the data from web pages.

- They `index` the website by using the `spiders` or `crawlers` and then store this information in a digital bank, filing everything in specific areas so they can use these pages when you type in a search phrase.

- Search engines then use a process where it compares the search string in the search phrase and looks to find what page is most relevant from its database (Its digital bank)

- The search engine then needs to the calculate the relevancy of the pages it has identified, it will notice how many of the words from the search string are used and where they are placed on the website

- It will then retrieve your search results, it will basically make its decision about what is most relevant and then display the results on your PC browser.

The algorithms that the search engines uses are updated dozens of times per month, when you see changes in Google or Yahoo results this is down to a change in the mathematical equation used to determine web results.

The main part of the algorithms will always remain the same yet the smallest change can result in major changes in the results you see.

What is SEO Rank??

So when you search anything on Google or Yahoo, the search engines will have to go into a database with thousands, if not millions of results. It will then display these ranks on your search screen in hierarchy or relevance. If a search engine returns your website at the top of the list then this would be classed as a `high ranking` website.

SEO Copywriting

This is the art of creating content which is both keyword rich and also readable to human users, this will allow the best of both worlds by creating content which is compelling which encourages interaction and people to share and also allows Google to read the content correctly.

So what is on-page and off-page optimisation of a website?There are two main areas of SEO (search engine optimisation)They are:On-page optimisation:These include providing unique and relevant content, placing high quality keywords on the website and correct places in each page title.Off-page optimisation:This area includes building links, increasing the popularity by adding your website to directories, search engines and social media websites.Traditional Off-page SEO included: Link exchanges, which is now considered `black-hat`The tactics used in SEO are separated into two different areas:• The methods used which Google and Yahoo recommend are referred to as white has SEO, this is sticking to the rules with minimal chances of getting `hit` by an update.Yet this method often takes longer to gain results, but the results will often stay.• Methods used which search engines do not approve are classed as black-hat, this can gain faster results yet often these are short term. Search engines constantly battle this art.

White Hat SEO

This is a tactic in which often includes:– Conforming to SEO guidelines.– There are no forms of deception used.– This often means that the content a search engine crawls and ranks is the same material that a user will find.– This will often show the search engines that the content created is for users and not just for search engines.– The content will have to be good quality, this will often result in it being shared, liked and promoted via social media networks.By following the above, results may take longer but in the long term it will be far more beneficial than trying to deceive the search engines.

Black Hat SEO

The following practices are often linked to black hat SEO:– Trying to improve your ranking by deceiving the likes of Google and Yahoo– Creating pages that are keyword rich which are specially built for search engines and then redirecting them to a human friendly website.– Making users redirect to a page which is different from the one the search engine ranked.– Cloaking: This is a SEO tactic which involves allowing spiders and Google bots access to one area of a webpage and restrict them access to another area of the site or page.– Meta tag stuffing or key word stuffing is calculated when placement of keywords on a webpage or at a high percentage compared to the other text on the homepage.– Creating doorways or gateway pages that are jammed with keywords and key phrases, they have very little other content and are low quality.– Mirroring is when a site has stolen the same content, design as another site yet is sitting under a different URL (domain name) This is often used in phishing scams.Never adopt any of the above techniques, this will eventually result in your website being penalised and potentially kicked off search engines all together.

Domain Names

When you consider buying a domain name for your company, you need to think about the following:– Who are you targeting?– What is it that you are trying to sell them and in what region?– What is your USP? How do you stand out from your competition?A trend which seems to be dying are EMD`s (Exact match domains) recently hit by a Google update, keywords in domain names now no longer hold as much weight as they have previously, so try and pick a domain that is short, easy to remember and also have no hypes if possible.Keywords in your domain name now have a negative effect on your Google listing and is no longer a recommended form of SEO.Do not purchase confusing and long domain names, also try not to separate words and phrases in your domain with hyphens, domain names are no longer a significant factor in ranking.Remember the best domains you can image in radio adverts and on the TV, they need to be short and snappy. Made up words are very in vogue right now and can help a lot with trying to stand out by having a clever brand.

Designing for SEO

The design of your website must impact a visitor within three seconds, if not they will likely turn away and return to the search screen. This is why it is important to not jam keywords and make content unreadable for human. You could have all the traffic in the world but without people making a click on your site then this is a pointless activity.– Keyword density is a tricky area, the content should have 3-5% keywords compared to the rest of text on the page.– Always try and have more text than html elements, also ensure that frames are not overall used on your website, as this makes it very difficult for search engines to crawl your website.– Keep your pages relevant; try to link pages and content together by their relevancy not by adding as many links on your page as possible.– Try not to use fancy flash code, rollovers or GIFS is possible. Keep the site as simple as possible as it will make it easier for Google to index your site.

File Names & Sizes

One very easy way to improve your search engine ranking is through the file names and image names that your use on your website, instead of naming an image: image1.jpg use the keywords that you are pursuing in the title `seo-bristol.jpg` is a much more suitable name for an image if you were pursuing the phrase `SEO Bristol`This is great way to include keywords in your website without `jamming` them in. You have to remember that Google doesn’t see images and only see`s the code in the back end of the website.

Naming your files:

– Ensure that the filename is short and to the point. It is always a good tactic to use the same keywords in file names as what are used in a page title.– Do not use page titles such as `services.htm` or `contact.htm` but try to use titles such as `seo-bristol.htm`– Try not to use any more than 3 or 4 words in a file name, try to separate your two keywords with a hyphen. (Only one)– Underscores – try not to use these in your page titles or image / file names.

<5>File Extensions:Do not forget that the file extension will have no direct effect to your websites ranking. Many webmasters still believe this is a factor in SEO, yet it literally has no proven worth.
File size :
Try to keep your file sizes below 101k, as it would appear Google will chop everything above that down.

How to find your keywords:

There are many different ways to find the keywords you want to pursue:Use the Google keyword tool for freeThe tags used on competitor websitesRelated search teams on GoogleUse product / service and location as a good example such as: `SEO Bristol` or `Bakery Cambridge`

Keyword Stemming

Word stemming is common practice by Google algorithms, this allows Google to see all variables of a single word such as `mortgage plan`, `mortgage planning`, `mortgage planner` try to use as much keyword stemming as possible.

Optimising Titles

If you do not use a title on your websites homepage or key page then you will not appear on Google or Yahoo or any search engines, yet creating your title incorrectly will also see you penalised. These bullet points should keep you out of trouble:– Unique titles on all pages– Try to use your primary key phrase on all titles of all pages– The title of your homepage should begin with your main key phrase– When you include your company name, ensure it is at the end of the title such as `SEO in Bristol | upUgo`– Use the best form of your key phrase, using plural or singular forms of the word.– Do not repeat keywords more than three times in a title

USING KEYWORDS

How often your keywords are described as your Keyword Frequency, this is calculated by how often a keyphrase or word is used over the site in the following areas:– Page title– Image title– Content– H1 /H2 tagsTry not to use the keyword too many times as this will be considered as keyword spamming.

Keyword density

This is the number of words on your webpage compared to the number of keywords. One technique of using this system is by creating a small webpage with just a paragraph of text which will allow you to put more weight on the keyword you are trying to emphasize.

Proximity of keywords:

This is where keywords are positioned on your website and how they relate to each other – consider Google or Yahoo using an online thesaurus looking at the keywords you use and finding how many synonyms there on that page and neighbouring pages.

Prominence of keywords:

These measure how early or high up a page keywords are placed. Keywords in the first paragraph or the heading are the best place. The lower down the page, the lower these keywords will hold prominence.

Anchoring Text

An example of anchor text is as follows:
Anchor Text

The anchor text is a vital area of your website coding and is visible to all search engines. It is also visible to all human navigators of your website, this is the little text box that pops up over a link or an image.

Try not to over optimise your anchor text with your primary keyword; instead try using your secondary keywords or even synonyms of your primary.

When linking your website or pages to other pages or sites then ensure they are still active to avoid having a 404 error.

Content is Still King

The content on a website consists of absolutely everything that you can see, this is the images, graphics, text and links to other areas of the web. There are many theories about SEO, but the fundamental rule is that if your content is right, then your website will rank.

Backlinks and PR

This is the art of having links pointing at your website from other websites, by having backlinks from other websites it will mean your website may be indexed more often.– Get your website on search engines; add them on your own. Do not use an automated submission service.– Adding your website to open directory projects such as dmoz.org and yahoo.com, being viewable in these directories will give you a boost in popularity.– Create relationships with other webmasters and relevant site owners, this will allow you to have links on their website, preferably with good quality content assisting them.– Get in forums and comment on relevant groups advising people to visit your website for free advice or assistance, ensure it is relevant and not spam.– Add your website to bookmark sites such a Slashdot; do make sure you do not spam them though.– Produce good articles and then submit them to websites with a link back crediting your work.

Further Information

Ensuring that the content on your website is regularly updated, ensure that it is relevant to your area of business and also make sure that it is unique. Duplicate content will get you penalised.– Search engines are so sophisticated that they check grammar and spelling, so always proof read your work to ensure that it is understandable and correct.– Make sure your content is jargon free, this will encourage people to read it.– Try not to over use images, make sure you have good content on your homepage and also the pages surrounding it.